Monday, July 13, 2009

Why you can appreciate change, good or bad.

"If you are finished changing, you are finished."
Benjamin Franklin

When I look at photos I took many years ago of various trips and activities I participated in, not only do I note the physical changes in myself after decades, but I also think about the other changes. What was I like at age 25? How did I perceive life at that time when my experiences and observations were much more limited than they are now? I realize how much change takes place in all of us with each passing year.

I find it encouraging that my worldview has changed and has greater insight than it did many years ago. As a younger person my worldview was defined but lacked understanding and wisdom which only years of life experience can bring. I now know why I believe something. I don't ever want to stop learning because I still have so much to grasp. My life is full of foibles and flaws. And I don't ever want to stop changing. I don't want to be the same person today as I was yesterday. Thank God for sunsets and sunrises! We can leave behind the mistakes and foolishness utterances of yesterday, make the needed amends and move on. We don't have to repeat it.

I was thinking about the concepts of Al-Anon, the organization that provides support to people who live with someone controlled by alcohol or drugs. The goal of the organization is to promote change in the sober family members, not the one who is the substance abuser. Often the Al-Anon member, coming from a place of despair, finds hope, freedom, and a new way of life even though their loved one continues to "use." The hope is that the change one experiences when they learn to let go and live without worry, suspicion and anger, will have an effect on the person struggling with addiction and it often does. The thing that causes someone the most pain can actually be the catalyst for something good.

When someone realizes only the addict can, with God's help, choose sobriety, it releases the loved one from the burden of feeling they have to protect or change the addict. This is a whole new world for someone who has spent much of their life worrying about "what if" or feeling they are caught in the chaos of the addicted person's world.

If you know someone who has a friend or family member who struggles with addiction, let them know about Al-Anon and encourage them to check out a meeting in their area.

"When we long for life without...difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in a contrary wind and diamonds are made under pressure."
-from a prayer by Peter Marshall

Photo: Sheryl Bullock